- Dance & performance
The first version of Illusionists premiered in 2009. In 2020, the work returned to the stage with a new generation of performers, a mixed cast of CNDB Dance and Performance Academy graduates and dancers from the Romanian dance community.
The work is an extension of the playful stage of life in its first chapters, characterized by play, innocence and continuous enthusiasm in perceiving and transforming the world. It rejects the automatisms, taxonomies and simplifications that take the place of magic in adult life and returns to the logic and relationships that make reality and the imaginary, the invisible and the visible, the possible and the impossible intertwine in the undifferentiated thinking of children.
Recreating the performance gives the author the opportunity of having a more mature approach on the artistic demarche from back then, but also to assume and emphasize the feminine identity and reality, by researching new ways of expression through movement, questioning stage conventions, compositional methods applied in improvisation, syncretic approaches to expression with movement, sound, objects, text.
The piece creates a bridge between the female presences from the original cast – Carmen Coțofană, Maria Baroncea, Mihaela Dancs and the new cast – Alexandra Bălășoiu, Smaranda Găbudeanu, Georgia Măciuceanu, Virginia Negru and Carmen Coțofană.
Illusionists proposes a game between what is imagined and what is conveyed as form and representation, between what is scenically present or absent, visible or invisible, abstract or concrete. The magic happens somewhere in the middle, between the performance and the viewers/receivers, and it is an active process that communicates itself through overlapping rhythms, intensities, colours, shapes in space, glimpses of images, affective states. Illusion (Imagination) is seen in Illusionists as a freedom of the spirit, as a mystery with its own logic of functioning, as a free affective and perceptive game in which the rational is suspended.
The approach in Illusionists refers to the understanding of the body (perceptive, sensory, affective, imaginative, kinaesthetic) as the main generator of creativity, the one that “manufactures” new worlds with each experience, image, storyMădălina Dan
Concept and artistic direction: Mădălina Dan
Choreography: Mădălina Dan, Alexandra Bălășoiu, Smaranda Găbudeanu, Georgia Măciuceanu, Laura Murariu, Virginia Negru
Performance: Alexandra Bălășoiu, Smaranda Găbudeanu, Georgia Măciuceanu, Virginia Negru, Carmen Coțofană
Costumes: Paula Dunker
Production assistant: Georgia Măciuceanu
Scenography & costumes assistan: Smaranda Găbudeanu
Light design: Alexandros Raptis
Mădălina Dan is a graduate of the “Floria Capsali” Choreography High School in Bucharest and of the National University of Theatrical and Cinematographic Arts in Bucharest – choreography section; she also graduated from UNATC with a master’s degree in dramatic writing. From 1998 to 2003 she was a member of the dance company “Oleg Danovski” in Constanta. In 2008 she participated in the scholarship program for contemporary dance “DanceWeb Scholarship” – Vienna. Mădălina Dan was a guest artist at the School of Dance at Arizona State University and associate artist of the National Dance Center Bucharest in 2016.
She studied in Berlin at HZT (Hochschulübergreifende Zentrum Tanz Berlin) in the SoDA (Solo/Dance/Authorship) program 2014-2016. Her work has been presented at Springdance Festival Utrecht, Balkan Dance Platform – Novi Sad, eXplore Dance Festival – Bucharest, Temps d’Images – Cluj, SouthBank Center & Chisenhale Dance Space – London, Fabrik Potsdam, Hebbel am Uffer – Berlin, TanzFabrik-Berlin, Tanzquartier Wien, Dance Theater Workshop – New York, Firkin Crane-Cork, Alta Theater – Prague, Art Stations Foundation – Poznan, Sophien Saale – Berlin, FFT Düsseldorf, Impulse Festival- Mulheim, Lyon Dance Biennale, Schauschpiel Leipzig, Hellerau – Dresden, Bozar- Brussels, etc.
Georgia Elza studied Design at the University of Arts in Bucharest. She has participated in contemporary dance workshops since 2019 and then followed this path. She is a graduate of the first Academy of Contemporary Dance and Performance established by CNDB. Within the program she started working on shows as a performer, collaborating with Mădălina Dan, Willy Prager, Simona Deaconescu, Andreea Novac. He was also part of works signed by Tino Sehgal at the Museum of Recent Art, or Rimini Protokoll under the direction of Vlaicu Golcea. She has danced at festivals such as “Aerowaves”, “Antistatic International Dance Festival for Contemporary Dance and Performance” and “Iridescent”.
Virginia Negru considers herself a dancer, performer, improviser, traveler, thinker. Always dissatisfied with the way things were presented to her in the world and realities in which she was born – Moldova, 1983 – she sought to find out, understand and even invent new perspectives. She often makes unconventional leaps between seemingly contradictory ideas and actions, but which nevertheless allow her to experience new experiences and ways of knowing. She went to law school even though she knew since then that what she would do in life would be linked to dance and the search for a different way of living. Currently in the midst of her search, she is aware of the banality of these somewhat romantic and sentimental urges, but embraces and balances them through her pragmatic spirit and critical thinking.
Alexandra Bălășoiu is a performer, choreographer and coordinator of Indie Box, a ‘box’ of independent projects artistically run with Denis Bolborea. She builds projects that focus on process and the relationship with the environment from which they are born. In the Singing Bodies project she proposes a creative process carried out both in the public space and in the rehearsal room, as a result of which she creates the performative solo “Spooky actions of a spoiled girl”. Alexandra works artistically in relation to mental health, developing a performance for public space, “The spring tides of a good girl”, and a collective dance film [ship of fools] – co-created with Virginia Negru, Catalin Diaconu, Denis Bolborea and Gabriel Durlan. In collaboration with dance therapist Loredana Larionescu, she organizes a series of cultural activities in psychiatric hospitals in Romania: dance therapy workshops with live music, performances adapted to patients and medical staff, film screenings. She initiates a series of artistic residencies for mothers, which gives birth to the performative installation moving [m]other, a hybrid format, designed for an audience of various ages, developed under the artistic direction of Valentina de Piante.
Smaranda Găbudeanu began her formal education with studies in acting and puppetry and continued with contemporary dance and visits to various artistic environments. Along with appearances on the stage of the National Dance Centre and collaborations with various state and independent theatres, Smaranda developed an interest in visual arts and film that led her to master studies in Image Theory and Practice at CESI. She is a founding member of PETEC, a production and research platform in the field of performing arts. She is currently developing interdisciplinary projects with art galleries and museums and exploring ways of working with musicians in the experimental scene.
Carmen Coţofană is a freelance artist, with ballet studies at “Octavian Stroia” High School in Cluj Napoca and choreography at UNATC I.L. Caragiale from Bucharest. Starting from 1999, she participates in various choreographic and performative projects that were present in national and international festivals, studied body techniques and principles of composition in professional scholarships and workshops, she went through the experience of personal productions, collaborates in theater projects, and she developed her teaching skills along with academic practice and continues to question every moment of the present time.
The National Center for Dance (CNDB)
Administration of the National Cultural Fund
The project does not necessarily represent the position of The Administration of the National Cultural Fund. The Administration of the National Cultural Fund is not responsible for the content of the project or the manner in which the results of the project may be used. These are entirely the responsibility of the funding recipient.
Promotional ticket of 10 lei for children and teenagers under 18 for the performance on 28 January. Recommended age: +10 years old.
Concept and artistic direction: Mădălina Dan